It’s after 10 pm on a weekday and even though we finished our dinner we still don’t feel like leaving. So we head back to the lounge, sit down in one of the soft pink sofas near the fireplace and enjoy the cosiness. It’s difficult to explain. But some places feel so good, you could stay for hours. Loungeatude in Ottignies Louvain-la-Neuve is such a place.
Text and pictures wowwatchers.com
Even though Paul van Havere, manager at Loungeatude, warned us that he is receiving two big groups tonight in Loungeatude it’s rather calm when we arrive at 7 pm (opening time) in the restaurant.
There’s just a group of people in their sixties/seventies enjoying a coffee around one of tables in the lounge. The fireplace is lit and hundreds of candles add to the cosiness of this place. Even though pink is not our favorite colour we love the warm atmosphere in this place.
Paul van Havere, manager at Loungeatude: “I want to receive my customers in the way my family used to receive people at home during my childhood.”
Paul van Havere is full of good ideas especially when it comes to theme parks. He used to work as a consultant for Studio 100 and helped them to put Plopsa Indoor into place. In 2005, Paul van Havere was asked to do something with this site in Louvain-la-Neuve that used to house a restaurant run by students but wasn’t that successful.
“It was the occasion for me to introduce a brand new approach in the catering sector”, Paul says. “To start with, I wanted to create a calm, peaceful atmosphere in a green environment, unlike the restaurants in the city. In addition, I wanted the customers to consider the restaurant visit as a real outing, a real pleasure. I want to receive my customers in the way my family used to receive people at home during my childhood. With 4 sisters and one brother I am part of a big family. We used to have home staff and I remember our family diners that started with a drink in the salon before we moved to the dining room.After dinner we went back to the lounge and had some interesting conversations arount the fireplace. That atmosphere I wanted to recreate in LoungeEATude.”
“In LoungeEATude we therefore have a salon with a library and fireplace – the so-called ‘lounge’ where people can enjoy a cocktail before they move to the dining room”, Paul says. “I prefer not to call it ‘restaurant’, you know. The lounge is as big as the dining room. We are a very unique concept and the name reflects different things: ‘lounge’, ‘eat’ and ‘eatude’ refers to ‘gastronomy’ or to ‘étude’ the French word for ‘study’.”
LoungEATude chef Pascal Marcin: “Our Chrono Gourmand menu (37 euro) with products of the day allows you to lunch or dine in just one hour, top chrono!”
“Apart from that we focus on a delicious kitchen with local products and seasonal ingredients”, chef Pascal Marcin explains. “Our butter comes from La Ferme de Lionel Plaquette in Mesnil-Saint-Blaise and the saffron from La Ferme du Cotchia in Wasseiges. Not only does our menu change every month, we also have some specific menus. One vegetarian prepared with vegetables of the day and one Chrono Gourmand menu (37 euro) with products of the day. As there aren’t many real restaurants in the neighborhood we have a lot of people that come for lunch. As there was a big demand to be able to lunch in just one hour we launched the Chrono Gourmand menu, in and out in just one hour, top chrono!”
Are you in a hurry? LoungEATude proposes a Menu Chrono Gourmand in 1 hour. Just 37 euros for 3 services. 28 euros for 2 services.
As appetizers we enjoy a plate of three: Vegetables julienne made from peppers, eggplant and mousse of avruga. Small gray shrimps “en cromesquis” on a shrimp nest with mousse de vanille and rabbit terrine with bread croutons.
As a starter we choose the ‘Croquette de chicon façon gratin, sorbet foie gras’ (21 euros). The chaud-froid aspect of the croquette of chicory with steak tartare on a bed of finely cut chicory with rye bread crouton is great and the icecream made from ‘foie gras’ tastes heavenly. The icecream of foie gras – we think – is so original and so delicious that if it hasn’t been commercialized yet, it should be. A very original dish which you really have to try out!
Our invite of the day chooses the ‘Crémeux de champignons de bois, filet de caille et foie gras (24 euros). The ‘foie gras’ is baked and cut as ribeye and the croutons give it a crispy touch. The sauce is like a mushroom cream sauce. Very tasty!
The wines on the menu are mainly French. With some Italian, Chilean and Australian inspiration as well. To accompany our main dish with meat of the day ‘Deer fillet with pomme dauphinois girolles, carrots and celery’ we choose the 2017 Venetian wine Domaine Paladin – Salbanello Cabernet, Malbec. An accessible fruity and pleasant wine with a superb ruby color. Intense and persistent bouquet with raspberry taste. In the mouth it is soft, light and very fruity. My partner tries a Carcasonne Chardonnay Viognier from Domaine Galetis 2016.
As we enjoyed so much our cocktail in the lounge, we decide to head back to the lounge, and enjoy our desserts in one of the soft pink sofas near the fireplace.
As dessert we take the Panna cotta with Valrhona chocolate and red fruit (10 euros) and a Parfait glacé with 3 chocolates and cacao meringue (10 euros). We find it surprisingly that the Panna cotta with red fruits is accompanied with pineapple as the flavor tends to overtake all the other flavors and therefore we prefer the chocolate dessert as it is well balanced with great tasting chocolate beignets, Breton shortbread (sablé breton) and yuzu.
It’s difficult to explain. But some places feel so good, you could stay for hours. Loungeatude in Ottignies Louvain-la-Neuve is such a place.
Loungeatude, Scavée du Biéreau 2 (achter de Ferme du Biéreau), 1348 Louvain-La-Neuve , +32 10 45 64 62, www.loungeatude.be